As subscribed to and witnessed by AJ Cunder
I, Harry B. Balsagna, being of sound and disposing mind, memory, and understanding, and after consideration for all persons, the objects of my bounty, and with full knowledge of the nature and extent of my assets, do hereby make, publish, and declare this my Last Will and Testament as follows:
FIRST: I declare that I am a resident of Santa Barbara, California; that I am unmarried (I was married once, but she’s since moved to New Jersey along with my china closet and collection of Frank Sinatra records), and have no children (despite my lifelong desire to be a father–though with my inclination toward whiskey, perhaps it was for the best).
SECOND: Upon my death, I direct the payment of all debts and expenses of my last illness with whatever monies and assets remain in my accounts. (Although I expect to have none when I die–illness, that is. I eat my serving of vegetables each day and exercise regularly.) In which case the payment of my other debts, such as those arising from my hobbies (like poker and blackjack), bills (there was a time several years ago when I refused to pay my cable bill for some months before they cut off my service), and mortgage shall be the only burden upon my estate.
THIRD: I do hereby devise and bequeath each and everything of value of which I may die possessed according to the following:
My DAGGER, with curved blade and wooden scabbard painted with red accents, to my niece Brie whose great aunt’s cousin’s half-sister claims to have been born in Vietnam–though I don’t see her resemblance to the Vietnamese in the photographs they’ve shown me–which is where I happened to find this dagger half-buried in the dirt. (The dagger, that is–I was not buried in the dirt–though I was crawling through the jungle at the time while avoiding the spray of gunfire.) Note: this is not the curved dagger with wooden scabbard that I purchased at a flea market in Bangladesh, which is approximately half-an-inch longer in overall length while being somewhat shorter in the blade, and shall be entrusted to my nephew Matthew who stated to me once while at a dinner party hosted by his mother (I thought it quite odd at the time to see a five-year-old in a tuxedo) that he had a desire to visit Bangladesh. I trust the executor of my estate to mark the difference between the two. (Daggers, that is–not relatives; I believe the difference between Matthew and Brie to be apparent.)
My FLINTLOCK PISTOL–a replica, of course (I would never be so careless as to leave a real gun to a child–or an adult, for that matter, as the case may be), though it appears as if it might be made to function with some modification. I doubt, however, that the thing would withstand more than a single blast, the wood being of rather shoddy construction–which isn’t to impugn the aesthetic value of the piece as it is meant to be observed while hanging on the wall (the gun (replica gun, I must stress) hanging on the wall, not the observer)–to my nephew Mason whose father (my brother) always admired my 6’ x 9’ painting (a print, not the original) of Washington crossing the Delaware (which I would leave to him if he hadn’t already passed, and if it hadn’t been destroyed when my apartment caught fire in ’92).
My QORAN, obtained while trading with an Alevi merchant in Istanbul just outside the Hagia Sophia–he saw my golden crucifix and offered his beautifully inlaid Qoran in exchange, complete with an inscription from his Imam. (I cannot read Arabic, and though I asked him what the inscription said, he only responded with a smile and a slight bow.) I’m inclined to believe he got the better of that deal, though I suppose sacred texts (when used properly) can be invaluable–to my niece Stanislaus (who insists that she will become the first female Catholic priestess) even though she can’t read Arabic (yet). Nevertheless, it is a treasure, surely, with gold leaf and intricate designs throughout (not to mention the spiritual value, which must be great, even if the words upon the page are mere squiggles to me).
My DATING FOR DUMMIES book purchased at a Barnes & Noble–and signed by the author–just outside Milwaukee on my way to a strange little town in the northern reaches of Wisconsin (I can’t recall the name of it at present, but I am quite sure it began with a “C’–Critz, or Crevice, it might have been) where I camped for several weeks, to my sister Betty, with whom I camped, should she still be without a significant other. Otherwise, I leave it to her son Baltimore who, with his incredible shyness and selective appetite–he won’t eat anything that isn’t a primary color (or a close approximation thereof), and only then if it is cut precisely into eighths (pasta dishes and other foods that don’t lend well to cutting may be divided into eighths)–will never likely find a date without professional help (which can be found in this book, as it was written by a psychologist apparently with the longest running (psychology) talk show on AM/FM radio, if her website can be trusted) with my best wishes for finding a wife (or husband, as the case may be) even if the book didn’t quite prove useful for me. Certainly it did in helping me find a woman and behave properly during our various encounters, though the particular caliber of the woman it found for me was, I’ll say, subpar. She once cracked me upside the head with a frying pan because I slurped my soup too loudly. I still have that pan (cast iron, I might add), and shall leave it to Baltimore as well (to defend himself, of course–I would never wish him to be the aggressor).
My DEER HEAD to my nephew Bartz son of Bartholomew who took me on my one and only hunting trip and is quite the avid hunter. (Bartholomew, not Bartz–Bartz is too young at the moment to know whether or not he will become an avid hunter, though his father adamantly insists that his son will grow up to be the greatest trophy hunter the world has ever seen.) He (Bartholomew) gave me the bow I used to kill that poor deer whose head now hangs on my wall. It was an accident, really. I had intended to go only to please my brother (Bartholomew) who had insisted for years that I must come hunting with him, and to shoot innocently at the bushes. I will admit, I did have some fascination with the mechanics of the compound bow, the feeling of power when I pulled back the string–difficult as it was for someone with arms like mine–and released the arrow, watching it zip through the air. Unfortunately, I failed to see the buck grazing peacefully behind the bushes, and I nearly attempted CPR on the animal. (I took a free emergency first aid class, once, hosted by a local volunteer fire department when I lived in Whippany, NJ.) He (Bartholomew) was also the one who insisted I stuff the deer’s head and put it (complete with ten point antlers) above my living room couch even though I wanted it near the door so I might at least use it as a coat rack.
My VEGAN LASAGNA RECIPE given to me by Martha Stewart (yes, Martha Stewart) after I had the pleasure of observing one of her shows from the studio audience to my niece Gerty (Bartz’s sister). My good friend happened to work for Mark Burnett Productions and got me a personal invitation (for those of you doubting the authenticity of my claim). After the show, I expressed my absolute delight at the dish she had prepared that day, which happened to be the vegan lasagna (my first foray into the world of non-animal cooking, though certainly not my last!). She insisted I take a copy of the recipe and I gladly did so, though I never had the opportunity to make it myself. Perhaps Gerty, who is already a wonderful cook at only nineteen-years-old, can find a use for it. She made an absolutely mouth-watering bacon-wrapped meatloaf once, and I’ve been dying for her to make it again. Not literally dying, though if I must find myself in some accident (not truly life-threatening, of course) to taste that dish again, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed.
My TREASURE CHEST–a small treasure chest (I don’t mean to unduly excite the recipient of this property) with a hidden keyhole and no key (I’ve always meant to take the thing to a locksmith, but it simply weighs too much, probably because it is stuffed with books from my grandmother, the original owner of this chest who was quite the bibliophile)–to my nephew Samson who has always enjoyed reading (mystery books, no less–and when he has a mysterious chest himself, he can pretend to be actually in his very own mystery novel).
Note: the chest may be found in my attic buried under a mountainous pile of fur coats which I’ve never found a use for and may be donated to Good Will–or taken by any of my relatives who don’t mind the occasional moth hole. As I’ve mentioned, it (the chest) weighs a tremendous amount, so all due precautions must be taken when relocating it. I would hate to watch–from whatever vantage exists in the next life–someone throw out his back on my account (or on account of Sampson, as the case may be).
The REMAINDER of my property (since I grow weary of parceling out each individual thing) to the last person with whom I slept before I died. I intend the term “slept’ in the broadest sense possible, though if it must be decided by an official or magistrate in probate court, I will offer the advice of referencing the Oxford English Dictionary (which is itself the authority on such matters). I find particular amusement in definition I.1.c. which claims that if I “sleep upon’ something I am postponing a decision until the following day. Or I.1.d., which claims that if I “sleep on either side’ I am somehow free from anxiety. Or I.1.e., where someone might “sleep like a top.’ Or I.2. which reminds me that to “sleep’ may mean to “be at rest in the grave.’ Or I.3.a., where my limbs might fall asleep and be numb. I.3.b. insists that plants might sleep as well, if they are “in a quiescent or drooping condition.’ II.8. insists that one might digest food by means of sleep, as someone might ask if you have “slept your dinner’ today? And, of course, the draft additions added June 2016: “to sleep with the fishes: to die or be dead, esp. in a body of water.’ Let us hope when the time comes for my Executor to execute this document that I do not “sleep with the fishes’ but rather sleep soundly in a comfortable casket of my choosing. (I plan to purchase it before I expire.)
LASTLY: I do hereby appoint WILLIAM SMITH of Los Angeles, California (my youngest brother–not the actor) as Executor (or Executrix, as the case may be–he always did say he felt more like a woman than a man) of my estate, giving to said person full power of appointment of substitution in his place and stead by his Last Will and Testament, or otherwise.
I subscribe my name to this Will this 27 day of March in the year of our Lord two-thousand-and-seventeen (or MMXVII as the Romans would say) at Santa Barbara, California.
__Harry B. Balsagna___
Signed, sealed, published, and declared to me as and for his Last Will and Testament, by Harry B. Balsagna, in the presence of myself who, at his request and in his presence, have hereunto subscribed my name as witness this day and year last set forth above.
___Anthony J. Cunder____ of 4120 Pleasant Ridge Ave, Santa Barbara, California.